I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! I was in Austin this weekend for the Austin City Limits Music Festival which was perfect timing for this post. For those of you who don’t know, She & Him is folk/Indie duo composed of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. Deschanel has had a lifelong passion for music, composing and writing most of the songs on their three albums. The duo is sometimes joined by session musicians to add drums, bass, and more unusual sounds such as madolin. Zooey herself sings vocals, plays the piano, and the ukulele. M. Ward plays the guitar, occasionally joins in for some harmonies, and is in charge of production.
The duo met on the set of a movie when the director asked them to sing a duet for the credits. Ward had heard Deschanel sing in Elf, but was unaware she wrote ans sang her own songs. After that, Deschanel reluctantly sent Ward her years worth of home demos that she’d been too shy to submit elsewhere. The two found they were inspired by many of the same music producers, such as two of the Beatles producers George Martin and Phil Spector. Their first album, Volume One, was actually composed via email since the two lived in different cities. Volume One includes a cover of the Beatles “I Should’ve Known Better,” as well as Smokey Robinson’s (but also performed by the Beatles) “You Really Got a Hold on Me.” Their first album has a much more early Beatles feel to it, and their remaining albums seem to move through the decades, with the newest Volume 3 having a little bit of a disco vibe.
Volume One still holds a fond place in my heart as a soothing album to cruise around to, being the sort of calming thing I can listen to in the car even with a headache. Most of the tracks on Volume One consist of vocals, ukulele, and guitar, giving the album a folk feel. I think my favorite original song is “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?,” which was originally released as a single, with my favorite overall song being the She & Him cover of “You Really Got a Hold on Me,” which is already one of my favorite Beatles’ songs.
Volume Two is a bit more upbeat, and a has a bit more variety in the instrumental arrangements. My favorite song on their second album is probably “In the Sun,” one of Zooey’s original songs, followed by their cover of “Ridin’ in My Car” originally performed by NRQB. Following Volume Two was the She & Him Christmas album, A Very She & Him Christmas. I love this album again because it provides an easier listening sort of Christmas that you can tolerate on even your most exhausted and scroogey days. The album consists of covers of many traditional holiday songs and provides an alternative to the current pop Christmas covers.
The newest album Volume 3, as said above, has a sort of disco feel to it. The album does seem a lot more produced than the previous albums with lots of backup vocals and new instruments. This album, like the previous ones includes three covers. The first cover “Baby,” I think was originally performed by The Shangri-Las and which was written and produced by several producers which defined the 1960’s girl group though it seems to have a complicated history as a song. Other covers include “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” originally performed by Karen Chandler in the 50’s and my personal favorite, a cover of Blondie’s “Sunday Girl.” The first half of the album includes several upbeat Zooey originals, my favorite of which is “I Could’ve Been Your Girl.” The second half of the album winds down with the more traditional She & Him acoustic songs with soft Deschanel vocals. I think the album could have done without the strange “oohing and awing” “Reprise (I Could’ve Been Your Girl)” at the end, but that’s just me.
Overall, if you’re already a She & Him fan, I think Volume 3 is a worth purchase. If you’ve never listened to She & Him before, I still think Volume One is worth checking out before heading to the later albums, or the Christmas album which provides a more familiar basis. Either way, I think you’ll find the lulling vocals and island sounds of the ukulele to be a nice and calming, yet emotional, additional to your musical repertoire.
Until next time,
|The Creative Physician|